Picture by Michael Cooper
In picture is (left) Simon Devlin, Managing Director of Full Circle in Belfast, with Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director. The Northern Ireland management consultancy has won its first business in Asia from its participation in a recent Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Sri Lanka and India
Full Circle, the Northern Ireland management consultancy, has won its first business in Asia following its participation in a recent Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Sri Lanka and India.
The Belfast-based company, which employs 11 people, is to provide sales and export training to business people in Sri Lanka in a collaboration deal signed with McQuire, Rens and Jones, a management development firm in Colombo.
Full Circle Managing Director Simon Devlin, who took part in the Invest NI trade mission to the region in April, will be leading the training programme from November. The company, formed by Mr Devlin in 2005, has also undertaken sales and export training programmes in the US and European markets such as the Czech Republic and Republic of Ireland.
The new business alliance in Sri Lanka was announced by Mr Devlin, who has extensive experience in export sales and marketing with Northern Ireland companies, and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.
Dr Kell said: “Assisting more local companies specialising in business services to market their knowledge and expertise abroad has long been a priority for Invest NI. We recognise the importance and potential of this sector for the Northern Ireland economy. It is immensely encouraging therefore, to see Full Circle developing a strategic alliance in Sri Lanka, a market we included for the first time in our 2011/2012 trade programme.
“We included Sri Lanka as part of our strategy to explore markets close to our established trade development hubs such as our office in Mumbai, which works closely with local companies wishing to grow business in India and other regions of South Asia. Sri Lanka is also a particularly good platform for companies interested in business in South India. Sri Lankan companies have particularly strong ties with businesses in this and indeed other parts of India.”
Mr Devlin said: “Winning the business in Sri Lanka came as a bit of a surprise because I decided to take part in the mission to explore opportunities in the much larger market in India. To be honest, I did not really know much about Sri Lanka and didn’t expect to do business there, particularly on a first visit.
“Both Invest NI and the British High Commission in Colombo were immensely supportive. Commercial staff at the commission produced an excellent list of contacts in business consultancies there and helped us arrange meetings with key people. As a result of this support, I had a number of very good meetings about possible ventures. When I returned to Belfast I followed up the discussions with several of these and subsequently signed a strategic alliance with McQuire, Rens and Jones.
“While Sri Lanka is a relatively small market, businesses there are keen to increase exports throughout the region and in particular with neighbouring India. Most companies in Sri Lanka also have good contacts in India and these relationships may be of benefit to us as we seek to develop opportunities that we have already identified in what is among the world’s most dynamic marketplaces.
“My experiences in Sri Lanka demonstrate that there is business even in smaller markets for companies prepared to make the effort to explore and seize export opportunities. Around 20 per cent of our business is now outside Northern Ireland,” added Mr Devlin.